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Multicopter thoughts?

, n
Hi everyone!

I've been into rc-flying for over 2 years now (only during summer holidays :p ) building depron foamies.

Now, my greatest hobby (I rather call it a passion) is photography. And I'd like to combine 2 of my greatest hobbies!
So I was thinking of something new:
Building a multicopter!

As I've seen it isn't that easy to control a multicopter, so I'd like to start with a simple design.

However, when I (hopefully) mastered the 'art' :cool: of controlling a multicopter, my goal is to put my Sony Nex-5 on it (weighing 481g/17oz with the kit lens) for aireal photography/filming.

As far as I know, 17oz is quite heavy for a multicopter I guess (apart from the specialized camera rigs...).

So, if I'd like to start off with multicopter-flying, how do I start?
I mean: which setup would I need, keeping my ultimate goal in mind? hexacopter, 6 motor Y-copter, octacopter... or just starting off with a tricopter?

thanks in advance!


Pirate ParkFlyer
I would go with a quad, they are perfect for learning and photography, the hexes are what you will put that expensive camera on though, if you lose a motor, ESC or prop it will still fly and save your camera, a quad will not but it flies very similar and it will be good training at a much lower cost. I personally do not find quads hard to fly, if you have some basic co-axe helicopter experience to train orientation it's that much easier. The ease of flight on any multirotor is determined by the flight controller and it's setup, if you buy a cheap kk2 board it will be more difficult to fly and tune than a Naza which almost flies itself, but you will pay a lot of money for the ease of setup and piloting the Naza provides. For areal video and photography I would recommend the best and most stable flight controller you can afford, starting with the Naza. You can get a Naza now, plug it in and with minimal setup be in the air and practicing very quickly while the guys using much cheaper and sometimes more advanced controllers like the Naza or the Flip32 will be fiddling with programming code and tuning for months in order to fly like a Naza. So I guess it depends on how much your time costs. Once you are ready to get a large Hex and put your camera on it, simply move the Naza over, reconfigure it and you are good to go.


Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
I'm going to agree, and disagree with squishy.

While I like my tricopter, I have to agree with squishy on the Quad suggestion. The quad feels more "stable". It is currently my go to FPV machine.

The Flite Test guys did an episode on an H-Quad. It's a very easy to build, and easy to fly design. You will find pretty much everything you need here to build your own.


Now to the disagreeing part. Kind of...

I can't argue for or agains the NAZA. I don't own one, haven't tried one. I have tried a variety of other controller boards, and have found the KK2 by far the easiest, most intuitive, and well supported board yet. There's a wide variety of youtube videos supporting how to set up, calibrate, and tune your KK2 board.

I found the set up to be quick and simple, and was able to fly it with much success on the stock settings.
Well, I was thinking of a KK2 also... So I hope it's an easy but versatile controller :)

About the configuration part: although I now use my canon 60D as my main camera, I wouldn't like to see my Sony nex plunging into the ground...
However, I think I'd start off with a quad first, and then upgrading to a hex or something.

but what's the safest configuration, but still has a large FOV? As I'd like to use my lens at the widest angle...


Dedicated foam bender
Quad or tri has the widest FOV. Or you can sling the camera under or over to get out away from the props, but that puts the camera back in harms way if you do crash... I have mine in between the arms of my hex and the props don't interfere, you can see them but they are off to the sides of the frame. Easily cropped if need be.


Pirate ParkFlyer
The reason I suggest the naza is because I have tried both, notice I say tried...I am no tuning expert, more of a pilot who enjoys instant gratification. I couldn't get a kk2 to fly right while I had a naza flying within an hour, take it leave it. My buddy who has a lot more time on his hands and also is writing code for the flip32 was able to get a kk2 to fly as well as my naza but it took him a month of trial and error, take or leave it. This is why I say, it depends on how much your time costs and if you enjoy fiddling and tuning, I personally do not, but I do work a good full time job while my buddy does not. He has an abundance of time and no money, obviously the kk2 would be my recommendation if your in the same boat, they are super cheap for what you get (hell buy a spare too), but if you have the money to blow from working hard and not having any spare time, the naza will get you flying with minimal effort. If my buddy worked all those hours he tuned his kk2 he would have been able to afford a naza and vice versa. It's not that one is better than the other, you just pay out the nose for the ease of using it...I am sitting on a naze32 and afro that I have not had time to dive into but I really want to fly one via fpv, the videos look great from those boards and the speed is awesome. But I am also not an aspiring areal photographer, I have dabbled in it as my numbious videos display but I would rather zoom around and race and I try to build my quads for that purpose. A non GPS naza does that really well and makes the learning curve of piloting a quad much easier...If it wasn't for the naza people like me wouldn't even be flying quads, I am just too lazy and lack the extra time to throw at configuration, tuning and educating myself enough to get a kk2 to fly as well as my naza does right out of the box without knowing a thing...

So if you are a total noob and have $400 bucks, get a naza, if you're poor like kenny (stop being poor kenny) just get a kk2 and gain experience, it will educate you so you can move on to more capable boards that also require lots of tuning and you will never need a naza...

The reason I say this is because of his areal photography ambitions, the naza is perfect for it. If he doesn't care about tuning, technology and just wants to get in the air and film, that's the quickest and easiest way...

And you don't really need experience with a naza to know how easy it is to use, I am a perfect example of how easy it is, as are a lot of other lazy dumb pilots who don't understand the tuning enough to care. Just knowing it flies at all in our hands is a testament to it's ease and well thought out design. I can't speak for the v2 as I haven't used it, but my v1 has been a great workhorse, surviving many crashes (every time it's been pilot error), one crash was from 950 meters up. It went inverted and fell all the way to the earth, and the naza flew the next day with new props and arms...

here's an example of some flying from a guy who can't even tune a kk2 (or remember to put on the RX antenna):
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